A dry fall and drought conditions

Seems kind of odd to talk about drought when the Red River barely dropped below flood stage until late August of this year. However the expected rain and snow we typically get in the fall has failed to appear. The graphic below depicts where we sit currently (or at least a week ago) and is from http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/DM_midwest.htm. It shows most of the Valley under abnormally dry conditions, with some reaches in the moderate drought region.

Total precipitation as a percent of the mean


Much of the Red River Valley has received less than 2 inches of rain since Sept. 22, with some areas receiving less than an inch (map to left). How does this compare with the precipitation over the past thirty years?  The map below shows precipitation as a percent of the mean, or average. Over the past three months we have received less than 50 % of the average, and in some areas, much less than 50% of the average rainfall. This winter’s snowfall, when it comes, will have a large impact on what happens come spring in the valley.

For more information on drought and conditions check out the Midwest Drought Information page from the Midwestern Regional Climate Center. Other resources for drought information are listed with the Minnesota Climatology Working Group, a collaborative of the Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources, University of Minnesota and State Climatology Office.

Looking at the predictions of the National Weather Service for precipitation the next three months, most of Minnesota has an Equal Chance (EC) of above, below or near normal snowfall. Hmmm…not much there to look ahead on. As we are fond of saying in Minnesota…if you don’t like the weather, just wait a moment and it will change! Here’s hoping for a WHITE CHRISTMAS!